Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Wine tasting at Pintray - 2

2007 - As a child Mr. R. used to live on the ‘île de Ré’, an island on the west coast of France. His father owned a small press shop and he and his brothers worked the fields, growing potatoes. Unless you were a fisherman there was little else to do on the island in those days (we're talking about the sixties). When his father died, Mr. R. inherited the shop. By that time tourists had discovered Ré, and real estate prices were increasing rapidly. Mr. R., recognizing a good opportunity when he saw one, sold the shop.

He decided to relocate to an area with more opportunities and moved lock, stock and barrel to the Loire Valley

When he first saw the Château de Pintray, the house was almost in ruins and the surrounding vineyards that came with the property had not been taken care of in years. With is wife and children he decided to bring the Château and the vineyard back to life.

At this point he stopped. “I suppose you would like to taste some wine now”, he said. We nodded. We thought he was going to pour us some wine from the bottle that he’d been holding all the time. But no! “Let’s start with a ‘Méthode Traditionnelle’ (a white sparkling wine). “It’s made by the ‘coopérative’ to which I deliver part or my grapes”. And off he went to get a bottle from the fridge in his kitchen! We sat there, waiting and waiting, until finally he reappeared from the house wearing a freshly ironed shirt and clean trousers. He obviously had been scolded by his wife for receiving guests wearing his dirty working clothes.

The wine tasting session lasted well over an hour and a half. The Château is located in the denominations of Montlouis-sur-Loire (Chenin or Pinot de la Loire) and Touraine (Gamay and Cabernet ). After the sparkling wine, Mr. R. served us some of his medal winning white wines:

- a ‘moelleux’ (sweet) white wine 2000: Golden medal at the ‘Concours Agricole de Paris’ in 2002.

- a ‘Cuvée des Armoiries 2002: Lys de Bronze 2003 at the ‘Concours des Vins du Val de Loire.

One of his dry white Montlouis wines has obtained a three star mention in the prestigious ‘Guide Hachette des Vins’.

And to think that all this has been accomplished by a man who 20 years ago didn’t even know how to make wine! During the tasting session Mr. R. told us how he had to take classes to learn about the grape growing and wine making business. After all, he had never done anything similar in his life. But his efforts won’t be in vain as his son, who has studied at the wine academy of Bordeaux, was at the time (in 2007) about to move in to help his father running the place. He will eventually take over the vineyard and the winery.

Mr. R.’s Montlouis and Touraine wines were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. We couldn’t resist buying two dozen bottles of red and one dozen of white. On top of that, we each received three bottles (red and white) that came with the internet competition’s first prize.

When we said goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. R. the next morning, thanking them for their warm welcome and the good time we had spent at the Château de Pintray, Mr. R. was wearing his usual working gear again.



chm said...

Were you able to walk straight after all that liquid drinking?

chm said...
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ladybird said...

chm: Barely ...but there was more to come. Check in tomorrow to find out :)). Martine